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Circu's Field of Dreams (Lantern) [Primer]

Commander / EDH Control Primer UB (Dimir)



A very warm welcome to you, unknown visitor. House Dimir is a guild of secrecy, manipulation and underhanded deals, a shadowy organization operating behind the scenes that offers many possibilities by playing with the blue and black colors. I like to introduce a guide for Circu, Dimir Lobotomist as the chosen one, the commander. Althought this inconspicuous wizard from Ravnica seems far away from beeing a first choice when brewing a deck, the former Dimir Guild Champion offers fantastic tactical options - in casual play as well as in competitive EDH. The very complex build of a smooth performing deck around this card needs patience and a lot of research to find the right cards to include, but in the end the player will be rewarded with a refreshing strategy and satisfying games.

In the upcoming description I take a look on the main ideas behind Circu, Dimir Lobotomist . In summery it may be said that this deck is a control deck. I'm not going into deep for anything else like a Mill theme, because this commander is not meant to be in this (therefore I recommend Phenax, God of Deception ). Also there is no place for any Tribal-deck, because the strenghts of this card lay elsewhere. Instead my Treasure Map  has led me to Lantern-Control embedded in the Theft/Exile-strategy .

The idea behind this very successfully in Modern played deck is that you deploy multiple lock pieces and the opponents are then unable to draw anything that matters. You accomplish that by revealing the top card of every player’s libraries with Lantern of Insight and a number of mill rocks including Codex Shredder and in this case yes, Circu, Dimir Lobotomist . The top card is moving away from the drawing position by activating those specific mill abilites if it’s good or simply keep it there if it’s bad. In this format it's indeed very hard to remove every card that is important, but with any political motivation it's possible to hit very critical combination pieces and hard to dealing creatures. With stealing permanents from anywhere (also from Exile) as additional support the enlarged strategy stays clear in one direction.

A main thing to be aware is the power level. This deck is not at the highest possible power nor is this a weak one. I personally think it’s a 7 of 10, with updates possible to get it to 9.5 of 10. Circu, Dimir Lobotomist is listed as a Tier 2 deck and I share this assessment. In one of the following categories I’m going to present my personal suggestions to upgrade or downgrade this deck. On this point I have to say, that it is very important to know your power level well for having the most fun. Communication is key with other players so everyone’s deck has about the same power.

I personally wish you the best experience on this site, reading the description, getting new ideas for this commander and playing this deck. If you have any suggestions, questions or anything else you want to say I am very open to your opinion. Please write it in the comment section, they are very welcome and will be gratefully received. I’m also thankful for your recognition:

"Fog haunts the streets, rendering familiar as otherworldly, changing neighbors into shadows, and muffling cries for help."

Illus.: Cyril Van Der Haegen

In the dark, slick corridors of the undercity lurks the unfathomable network of the Dimir guild. House Dimir is Ravnica’s dark but open secret: the populace knows Dimir exists but they pretend it doesn’t. The Dimir’s role in Ravnica is to provide covert services that other guilds can’t or won’t, using their secrecy as both weapon and defense. Dimir is hidden even from itself, using pockets of covert agents who are aware of only a few other contacts. Dimir agents leave no trace, destroying memories of witnesses to their crimes, and even going so far as to eliminate their own memories of their assignments. (wizards.com/magic)

There is not much known on Circu, his character isn't well drawn and lies in the shadows. All over a perfect fit for the guild. I feel that I need to embellish his story. Like every other guild the House Dimir provides many services for the public, do their own stuff behind the curtains and make sure, that nothing endanger their existance. As a former Guild Champion Circu was a skilled fighter, doing everything to defend the intentions of the guild itself. He made sure anyone who had to keep secrets and informations or learnt too much about House Dimir never shared that knowledge, one way or another.

Not only the House Dimir provides espionage, smuggling, burglary, counter-intelligence, assassination and other illegal services for the Ravnican populace, they also have the most developed knowledge as any other guild about how the psychological makeup does work. By using this know-how their methods can help the people to regain full mental health. But be careful, with their experience in that special field they do also gather informations in a very sinister way for finishing their missions and they may use it in every case of self defense. As time goes by Circu left his position of power for an assistant purpose. With his experience and know-how in field of mental disorders he fulfills a very important duty for the public and for the guild itself. In the past Circu used many techniques to erase specific informations in target minds, but nowadays his support is in a different way by getting impaired Ravnican's back to an enhanced and liveable existance.

However, as war came to Ravnica, Circu fought besides other guilds against the Eternals overrunning this plane without any doubt wheter he should on the battlefield or not.

Representing card:
Let’s take a closer look to the main character’s card. Circu, Dimir Lobotomist is a legendary creature card with casting costs first printed in Ravnica: City of Guilds in 2005.


Whenever you cast a blue spell, exile the top card of target player's library.

Whenever you cast a black spell, exile the top card of target player's library.

Your opponents can't cast spells with the same name as a card exiled with Circu, Dimir Lobotomist.


The first and the second ability are for exiling any card from the top of their owner library, but instead of targeting the other player it targets his/her library (it does work too if the opponent has hexproof). The third one is only helpful if commander staple cards get hit. Circus abilities are not for Milling primarily, they are too specific for constantly reducing the opponents library and Circu would be way too slow for this strategy.

I quickly realized, that in commander the archetype rating is different compared to other Magic formats. In many cases the player wants to win through combinations so I take a further look on this main strategy. Depending on power level the Aggro- and the Combo-type melt together, only the used cards provide information on how fast the winning process should be done. In the multiplayer format it's not easy to put an aggressive preassure on every opponent at the same time and it's nearly impossible to interact with them too, if the target is to win as fast as possible. The Control-archetype leads secretly most of the time also into collecting the right pieces for a final shot so back to the roots for investigate how to categorize this deck.

The mana costs of the commander are way to high and the abilities are to challenging for playing an aggressive deck. The basic ideas of Control are definitely more suitable, in most cases the line follows to two play styles. It may be the Stax-strategy by reducing every opponents resources constantly so they can't play anything or in a very limited way. On the other side the Pillowfort-tactics are known for punishing players for attacking you or trying to prevent incoming damage. The nature of this strategy is political with attempting to make being attacked by an opponent undesirable and futile.

Illus.: Clint Cearley

  1. Circu, Dimir Lobotomist + Lantern of Insight + blue/black spells

  2. Notion Thief + Whispering Madness

Illus.: Cliff Childs
  • Cabal Ritual : Adding up to 3 additional black mana in the mana pool
  • Chrome Mox : This mana-producing Mox produce 1 colored mana by exiling a card
  • Dark Ritual : Another mana spell
  • Dimir Signet : Classic Signet for blue and black mana fixing
  • Fellwar Stone : For 2 CMC this artifact is absolutely playable
  • Lotus Bloom : Control decks aren't very aggressive, this card gives a little speed in the early game
  • Lotus Petal : The often needed 1 mana packed in an artifact
  • Mana Vault : Useful addition producing 3 colorless mana - the untap costs are an acceptable disadvantage
  • Mox Amber : In my opinion the best affordable mox in the Commander format
  • Sol Ring : 1 CMC producing 2 colorless mana - helpful in nearly every deck
  • Talisman of Dominance : Supports both colors
  • Wayfarer's Bauble : Mana Ramp in the early game - not so effective in the late game but worth to include it
  • Baleful Strix : Fantastic creature that gives card draw AND a deathtouch flyer
  • Brainstorm : Card selection is important in a control deck
  • Dark Confidant : This small creature guarantees some major card advantage
  • Day's Undoing : Refills the hand
  • Demonic Tutor : Best card for finding the needed card in the library
  • Diabolic Vision : Multicolored card selection synergies with Circu, Dimir Lobotomist
  • Jace, the Mind Sculptor : Not just included because he is "super-good" - his abilities support also the main strategy
  • Mystical Tutor : Finding an instant or sorcery
  • Narset, Parter of Veils : Especially in the Commander format card drawing is very important. This planeswalker regulates the opponents drawing
  • Necropotence : One of the best draw engines
  • Notion Thief :
  • Rhystic Study
  • Search for Azcanta  
  • Sensei's Divining Top
  • Thassa, God of the Sea
  • Treasure Map  
  • Trinket Mage
  • Vampiric Tutor
  • Whispering Madness
  • Windfall
  • Archfiend of Depravity : Instead of the banned Paradox Engine as win condition decimates the Archfiend big armies instead, which is also helpful. A 5/4 flyier too
  • Crawlspace : Supports to get not so much attacked, but doesn't help one another
  • Ensnaring Bridge : Universal genius card for protection against fatties
  • Fatespinner : Interesting card design, but in many cases the other players turn down combat
  • Maze of Ith : Removes the main threat from the combat
  • Meekstone : Cheap spell with good effect against big creatures
  • Pendrell Mists : Many creatures on board? No problem
  • Phyrexian Obliterator : A little bit oppressive, but fulfills purpose
  • Propaganda : Keeps the amount of creatures swinging against this deck low
  • Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver : Flavourwise preference to Ashiok, Dream Render , both are playable
  • Codex Shredder : Fits in the theme and has a recursion ability too
  • Counterspell : Classic spell to hinder a potentially dangerous spell
  • Dimir Infiltrator : Two-color spell or Tutor card for searching a 2-CMC-card
  • Dramatic Reversal : Part of the win contition
  • Field of Dreams : Revealing the top card is good for knowing upcoming cards
  • Isochron Scepter : Other part of the win contition
  • Lantern of Insight : This card gave his name to the deck type in the Modern format, helps a lot to gather informations
  • Mana Drain : Maybe the best one for countering spells in EDH
  • Memory Lapse : The good thing of putting the countered spell on the top of it's owners library is that it can removed there from the game
  • Mission Briefing : Card selection and recursion spell
  • Muddle the Mixture : One ability is to counter spells, the other is to search the library for a card with 2 CMC.
  • Pact of Negation : Tapped out? No problem for this counter spell
  • Snapcaster Mage : Spends a body for the battlefield and flashback for an instant or sorcery spell
  • Thing in the Ice  : Hero card. Whipes the board very easy
  • Wizened Snitches : Another form of card for revealing the top library card
  • Academy Ruins : Does support the recursion of important Artifacts
  • Ancient Tomb : All-time classic. Two colorless mana for 2 life is good if it means that you’re able to play a fantastic card one turn earlier than planned
  • Blast Zone : Good against specific cards
  • Bojuka Bog : There are many graveyard oriented decks, the removal is hard to hinder
  • Buried Ruin : Get some important Artifact card back to the hand
  • Command Tower : All-time classic card that gives a black or a blue mana
  • Creeping Tar Pit : Sometimes the 3/2 unblockable creature ability is very helpful
  • Darkslick Shores : In early game it comes untapped into play, later you may not need this card
  • Darkwater Catacombs : Supports the two Dimir colors
  • Dimir Aqueduct : Bounce back a land card to get a tapped nonbasic land, that can produce 2 colored mana
  • Drowned Catacomb : Another land card that can produce any of the both needed colors
  • Duskmantle, House of Shadow : Mills an important if no other way of removing isn't available
  • Exotic Orchard : In an optimal case the mana fixing is early in the game available
  • Fetid Pools : Both colors available and card draw through cycling ability later in the game
  • Island : 4 Ravnican Islands included in consultation with the commander
  • Minamo, School at Water's Edge : Interesting Land to untap Circu, Dimir Lobotomist or for strategic reasons any other possible legendary permanent
  • Polluted Delta : Not really needed, but in some cases helpful
  • Reflecting Pool : Flavourwise inclution, can produce the needed mana
  • Riptide Laboratory : Ability to bounce the commander back to the hand for saving him against removal spells and damage
  • Shizo, Death's Storehouse : May also support an opponent's combat
  • Sunken Ruins : One of the best Lands for black and blue mana
  • Swamp The 4 Swamps fit perfektly in the Ravnican theme
  • Underground River : Pain land for mana fixing
  • Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth : Some cards need many black mana, therefor this Land is a special including
  • Volrath's Stronghold : Recursion card for the small amount of creatures in the deck
  • Watery Grave : Shock land with flexible text
  • All informations are now gathered to move to the next step: What are possible strategic options to play this control related deck? Not many of them are suitable for Circu, Dimir Lobotomist and in EDH it’s very important to stay on one personal favoured tactic theme instead of many different. Otherwise you’re going to risk an underpowered game performance of this (or any other) deck. I personally recommend to stay on "Lantern Control" as basic idea. Especially for this commander it may be said that Circu can be played at all different power- and budget-levels, so some strategies for this commander are listed here:

    Doomsday/ Maniac:
    Named after the card Doomsday down from the expansion Weatherlight in 1997 this card showed ambitions as enabler of win conditions. In EDH this works fine with Laboratory Maniac including some draw spells like Gush and reanimation spells like Animate Dead just in case. The Control archetype stays the same and Circu, Dimir Lobotomist is definitely okay as commander. Mentionable cards are the Jace-Planeswarker from the War of the Spark set 2019 ( Jace, Wielder of Mysteries ) as well as Demonic Consultation , Tainted Pact and Thought Lash . Brave deck builder may consider Leveler or Paradigm Shift too. The abilities from Circu of removing cards from top of the library can also direct the own - I'm sure there are many nice combinations with this idea available.

    Do you like more interactions with your group in the game? The Dimir-colors include many fun cards to steal their best permanents like Empress Galina , Bribery and of course Mind's Dilation . Some budget cards with Control Magic , Confiscate or Grave Betrayal may also be named here. There are plenty of those cards available, with Circu making preselections of which cards can be available and which one not. Definitely in the casual area listed leads this tactic into very disturbing, but interesting game turns.

    If you are not afraid to play Eldrazi cards, then this theme is definitely something to consider. The strategy is to go deeper into the exiling-main-cards-from-players-deck-idea, from there on building a solid board state. The Eldrazi cards Fathom Feeder , Sire of Stagnation , Oblivion Sower or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger , if you find a mana combination to get him earlier in the game, can cause problems. Sadistic Sacrament and Praetor's Grasp are able to dig down to anybodys library to remove target key cards. From Leyline of the Void or Planar Void as options against graveyard decks to Gonti, Lord of Luxury and Thief of Sanity for extended "hand cards" are many cards playable to hinder Combo-decks by winning the game. Beware the very complicated deckbuilding!

    The discard strategy is an obvious choice for playing control. By keeping the amount of hand cards low the removing abilities from Circu, Dimir Lobotomist get more effective. Even though a budget deck can be built very easy I see this theme is able to compete well. Burglar Rat , Unnerve and Mind Rake , even Vicious Rumors fits perfect in this deck. Mind Twist , Mindslicer and Waste Not are staple cards, Oppression , Cunning Lethemancer and Painful Quandary can be very oppressive. With blue you are able to bounce permanents back to their hands ( Boomerang , Into the Roil ) - combined with Warped Devotion this deck could definitely painful to play against. If you are going to play this deck creature orientated. I recommend Larceny as one of my favourite and a very effective discard card as well.

    While I've researched for the right way to play Circu as commander I found this article from flipsidegaming.com: . The main strategy is to use the "Cipher"-ability of cards like Stolen Identity as often as possible. Everytime a creature deals combat damage, you may cast a copy of the encoded card and remove a card from the top of a library. This works excellent, if your creatures gain double strike with Fireshrieker or Grappling Hook . In many cases you draw extra cards with Shadowmage Infiltrator or anything with this effect included.

    Wizards Tribal:
    Another experimental deck can be brewed around Wizard Tribal. They have many cards that works effectly with Circu, Dimir Lobotomist as commander, especially Naban, Dean of Iteration , Azami, Lady of Scrolls and Baral, Chief of Compliance . They have some kind of mana ramp with Apprentice Wizard , card selection available with Information Dealer and many control elements with Ertai, Wizard Adept , Patron Wizard and Voidmage Prodigy . Also Supreme Inquisitor seems a good choice for the character of the deck. And black spells? Well, in this case those cards tends to support the strategy with removals ( Hero's Downfall ) and ramp instants like Dark Ritual , but also having wizards like Dark Confidant included.

    Guess I've made a point, why I don't see Circu playing this way. However, this MTG-format is influenced by casual play and by flavourwise card includings, so I also take a look at this deck building process. Clearly in a game with more then one opponent it's good to know, which opponent to mill. Circu, Dimir Lobotomist has got those abilities to remove specific cards and therefor he could run as a possible commander. You may consider Duskmantle Guildmage + Mindcrank as well as Psychic Corrosion , Memory Erosion , Altar of the Brood and of course Consuming Aberration . Maybe some Stax-cards like Arcane Laboratory are able to support the control theme, does work well with Dreamborn Muse . On the other hand, Circu could be a nice addtion as a card to another commander deck with mill theme.

    Illus.: Sam Burley

    A target of this deck is to achieve success against combo decks. Turned out removing key pieces won't stop them at first, but it does earn enough time to get rid of the danger.

    Very aggressive creature decks are for sure one of the biggest threats against this deck. Probably green is the most feared color. The low amount of creatures in this deck can for sure turn out to be problematic, more so if the protection cards of the pillowfort theme would get destroyed.

    Illus.: Cyril Van Der Haegen
    In this category I look on how to improve this deck to a control deck. Always keep in mind to stay focused on the deck’s strategy with any change. I am full aware that my deckbuilding includes many expensive cards in respect of price, so I'd like to add four links. The first two are for anyone who seeks for a low-budget deck and the others for a competitive list.

    1. Budget deck: deck: Budget Circu Lantern
    2. Budget deck: Circu's Psychic Surgery
    3. Competitive deck: circu lantern
    4. Competitive deck: deck: The Dark Tower: Circu Citadel cEDH (but remember, Circu doesn't work for Bolas)

    1. The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale , Chains of Mephistopheles
      • Going deeper into the control theme
      • No need to play this anyway due price consideration
    2. Mana Crypt , Mox Opal , Mox Diamond , Grim Monolith
    3. Ad Nauseam
      • Absolute winner card, better keep your mana costs low
      • Often seen in competitive EDH decks

    1. Dimir Charm , Dissipate , Forbid
    2. Diabolic Tutor or Mastermind's Acquisition
    3. Dissipation Field , Web of Inertia , Koskun Falls or Dread
    4. Jace, Wielder of Mysteries , Dark Tutelage or Greed
    5. Hedron Archive
      • Possible replacement for Mana Vault
      • Higher mana costs, but comes with an option for card draw
    6. And, of course: Any land can be easily replaced with another basic lands

    Illus.: Svetlin Velinov


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    Top Ranked
    Date added 8 months
    Last updated 1 month
    Key combos

    This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

    Rarity (main - side)

    13 - 0 Mythic Rares

    45 - 0 Rares

    20 - 0 Uncommons

    13 - 0 Commons

    Cards 100
    Avg. CMC 2.18
    Tokens None Treasure, 2/2 Manifest
    Folders Uncategorized, Deck's to Make?, Deck mod ideas, Primer for investigation
    Ignored suggestions
    Shared with

    Revision 20 See all

    1 month ago)

    +1 Archfiend of Depravity main
    -1 Ashiok, Nightmare Muse main
    -1 Bitterblossom main
    +1 Brainstorm main
    -1 Bribery main
    +1 Chrome Mox main
    +1 Counterspell main
    -1 Crafty Pathmage main
    +1 Crawlspace main
    -1 Dead Man's Chest main
    -1 Dowsing Dagger  Flip main
    +1 Dramatic Reversal main
    -1 Echo of Eons main
    +1 Echoing Truth main
    -1 Empress Galina main
    +1 Ensnaring Bridge main
    -1 Evolving Wilds main
    -1 Fallen Shinobi main
    -1 Fireshrieker main
    -1 Gilded Drake main
    and 63 other change(s)